Archive for beach

Productive Day

// May 31st, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, Exercise, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS

Malibu Logoon State Beach 059Today was the first day that I put myself to the test of being certain to stay focused, stick to my schedule and get things completed and I did awesome. The only area where I slacked was getting up to get things moving along. I missed that window by almost three hours…..I’ll do better tomorrow. Even with missing the window by almost three hours I still got lots done for my organization and even got my exercise time in as well.

I was able to schedule a Dr. for my Unplugging HIV outreach on Skid Row next week, designed a flier and sent out three emails seeking support, advice and guidance from some people who have been in the field of HIV a long time and have told me on many occasions to “reach out” if I ever have questions or need some support with my work. Only time will tell if this was sincere or just more people talking.

I took a look at a website someone suggested to me about this idea I have and I spent some time uploading photos from the weekend. WOW, over 300 photos.  Thank God for the people at Flickr, because there would be no way for me to store over 30,000 pictures on my laptop. Thanks again to my good friend Eric for the Seagate Free Agent external drive. That too is such a huge help.

I had a case management appointment today to turn in my service logs to show where I have gone to the Dr. and doneMalibu Logoon State Beach 150 other things like my community work and other things I do to help me deal with being HIV positive. This meeting is always a breeze and never takes more then 10 minutes because she knows what she is doing and does not want to take up too much of our time. She really gets that she is there to support us, not police or make us. Something that is greatly lacking from other organizations who claim to be doing the same work she does.

Dodger and I went on three walks today which allowed me to get some much needed exercise and even clear my space so I could come back and finish the job at hand. The breaks during the day seem to give me the energy to get back and get things completed. My mind is sharp and my energy level was even all day long.

The big score for me today was getting a Dr. to speak at the very last minute to my Unplugging HIV outreach down on Skid Row. I called her to talk about dates for a workshop in July and as we spoke she offered to come speak next week and even provide the meal for the group.  AWESOME!!!!!

I’ve seen her present before and each time I am so blown away by how she is able to make things basic and clear. She also takes her time, being very careful not to leave anyone behind. She is also someone who is very sensitive to the needs of the people she presents information to. This is key for my outreach on Skid Row. My outreach is mainly minorities which are populations greatly affected by HIV and AIDS, so it if very important to have someone who can present information in a manner that is not judgmental or condescending. They have to feel like they can trust what the presenter is telling them and have been known to test each presenter just to make sure they know what they are talking about.

Malibu Logoon State Beach 160It is going to be such a huge blessing for me to have her present to my residents  through my Unplugging HIV outreach on Skid Row and I am very certain that they will be thankful and appreciative of her effort to supply them with the tools to live a long happy life.

So it’s now 8:59 in 51 seconds on Tuesday night. The goal is to be in bed by 9:30 no later then 10:00 and up at 6:00am for my bike ride and morning news, walk with Dodger, morning calls and then back to the grind to move my organization forward.

The pictures with this blog are from the photos I took on Monday (Memorial Day) You can view them all by clicking on myphotos to the right of this blog entry.

I hope you’ve had a great day

Growth and Change

// May 30th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, diet, Exercise, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Homeless Outreach, Me Time, Pictures

JAZZ & ART @LACMA 046This long holiday weekend  has been awesome. It started with jazz at LACMA and today it ended with an awesome day of picture taking with my friend Franklin, who was just one of my friends who helped me kick my weekend off. All I can say is that I’ve had an amazing, fun filled weekend.

Franklin and I have been spending lots of time together and I must say that it has been simply awesome getting to know him better and spend so time with him. I already blogged about how I met Franklin and already talked about some of the things he deals with in his daily life. It has been so cool to watch him open up and grow, so cool to watch him move from someone who barley spoke a word to someone who talks and smiles, so cool to watch him go from someone who stayed in his dark apartment, to someone who now calls me about going on picture safaris.

It is simply so amazing to watch how the gift of friendship can help to change things for someone. How simply showing up and refusing to allow someone to waste away can mean the world to the life path that someone is on. This is why the word “friendship” means so much to me and why I never just throw the word “friend’ around.

My friends are all straight and all couples,  newly weds with a baby, while another has been married a few years with aJAZZ & ART @LACMA 089baby on the way, another couple planning a wedding and the last couple has been together for a very long time. They are all great people and to be very honest they are great friends, not just supportive of me, but of my community work as well.  At times I feel like a third wheel, even though I know when they ask to hang out they truly want to see me and have some hang time with me.

Until Franklin I had no single friend and with him I get a friend who is not only single, but we also share the common interest of photography, jazz, classical music and so much more. Like me, Franklin is HIV positive, so there is just one more thing we have in common and one more thing we can help to support each other through.

For the past two months, maybe three I’ve been thinking of how I am going to grow and change, not just my organization, but in my personal life too. Just last month I had a great HIV check up and in order for that to continue I need to make certain I am doing everything I can to keep my body healthy and stay off HIV medications.

Purpose 118To address this I have been back on my bike and taking longer walks with Dodger, I am also doing all that I can to address more healthy eating habits, however doing this is a huge challenge on government assistance, but I am doing all that I can. The main thing is that i am making certain in get rest and plenty of exercise.

In addition I am also removing people, places and things from my life that only serve as distractions and yes, even problems or drama. This is going to be key in my overall health and well being. It’s funny to me how once you make your mind to be a better person all the way around, people, places and things start to work against you. All of the sudden people you never hear from are now calling, people, places and things start to do more to show up and be distractions and this is where I need to make certain I am clear in where I am going and what I want to accomplish.

The cool thing is this, with getting rest and more exercise I have seen major changes in my mood, my energy and my Sickle Cell is not given me that much of a problem. My days seem to be more full of energy and my stress level is very low. I seem to be smiling more, if that is possible for someone who smiles all the time.

Now let’s talk about my outreaches because they too are changing and I am adding an addition to my HIV outreach.

Do Something Saturday~that empowers people

This is my oldest and most visible outreach and for the past four years I have run this outreach out of my own pocket orMalibu Logoon State Beach 122 efforts combined with the backing and support of my friends and supporters. It’s been awesome and the people I have been able to reach has been great, but it is time to step it up and take this outreach to the next level.

I dont mind sharing my ideas or even talking with friends about what I want to do or how I can help them. But I must say that my feeling get hurt when I my ideas at work in organizations that do not even respect people like me. My feelings get hurt when I see people collect awards for an idea that was mine, but simply because they have the backing of some non-profit or people with deep pockets.

These past three months I’ve had to really swallow my pride and set my feelings aside and know that my ideas are at work making things better for people battling HIV and AIDS as well as people who are homeless or transitioning from homelessness into having their own place.

I’ve always said I do not so this for someone to call my name or to get some award, however it does not feel good to see other people take credit for my idea or something I’ve worked damn hard at. I simply does not feel good.

So no more will I allow organizations who wont even allow me to volunteer for them, take my ideas and use them for their good only to line their pockets and flip me or even people like me the middle finger.

I will say this as I have said all along, you cant help people if you do not speak with them and seeing what I have seen and reading what I have read from 4 very different mega funded organizations really makes me angry, but not in a bad way, i that makes sense. It makes me angry enough to do more, push harder and raise my voice that much more, so that people who are seen but not heard have their concerns addressed.

Malibu Logoon State Beach 193I am adding a support group for people battling HIV or AIDS to my Skid Row outreach. I am just so sick and tired and hearing the same old tired line from the “community” and even people at “ASO’s” when it comes to addressing the needs of people who are greatly affected by HIV and AIDS.

No longer will I wait for people to return emails after I’v sent several and even had face to face conversations with such people. I will no longer accept “they are out of my SPA area” I will no longer wait while HIV and AIDS continues the path it has always been on unchanged since the start of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

After reading this you will understand why I need to remove some people, places and things in my life that only take up space and offer up nothing. I can not allow my health to fail me because I am not doing all I can to remain in good health.

Tomorrow is day 1 in the journey of positive growth and change for both me and my organization.

Today I ended my awesome weekend at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. I am uploading the 344 pictures I took and the video of the day is already live on my youtube channel. I will share the other surprise later this week in either a blog or vlog.

I hope you all have had a great holiday weekend.

Escape with Me

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, Exercise, health, Health and Fitness, Me Time, photos, Pictures, video, work

Explore 060Today was a day for me to unwind and remove all stress. It was something that I have not done in a very long time and believe me when I say it was long overdue.

It’s amazing how much time we spend doing things that have nothing to do with our overall well being. Shocking how much stress we allow to build up in our lives and many time we don’t realize it until something like a stroke or heart attack happens, even worse death.

About a month ago someone said to me “your Sickle Cell has given you so much problems since you started working this job.” Last month I went to the funeral of a cousin who lost his battle with Sickle Cell and after talking with his wife, she too feels that if he only spent more time removing stressful people and things from his life, he would still be here. The last time I spoke with her, she asked me to take better care of my overall health and well being.

It goes without saying that my last job was very stressful and more the 95% of the stress was caused by a director who knew went out of her way to cause chaos and confusion among the staff. Constant changes to schedules, job requirements, emails, voicemails, pictures and even threats that she would fire us were just some of the ways she caused so much stress.

Today after my first round of housing inspections and my trip to the doctors, I did something for me. Something I have not done in a very long time, but as I said before, it was long overdue.

I came home grabbed my cameras and headed to the beach to escape for a day. I know to many this was not much of an escape, but for me it was all I needed. Since I grew up in Santa Monica and I love being near the water, this is where I headed and I am so glad that I did.

it was a cook day today so I needed to make sure I was dressed right. I didn’t want my day of relaxation to turn into a night of fighting off a cold. I dressed in layers and topped it all off with my USC hoodie.

I spent the day with no real plans other then just taking it slow and not spending a bunch of time online or in contact. What I mean by this is, I had my cell phone with me, but if was off for more the 90% of my day. I did not return calls unless they were something that could not wait until the next day or at least until I was heading home later in the evening.

Being near the water was so calming and cool. it was like all day therapy for me. I walked from the top of the Santa Monica Pier all the way down to Venice Beach, just south of the new skater park. Taking pictures every step of the way.

I finished my day with dinner at the Santa Monica Place Mall and a sunset at the Santa Monica Beach. I had spent my most of my day relaxing and clearing my space. I did such a good job at it, that the crowded bus ride home filled with people who were loud and some of them rude, didn’t even bother me.

I was welcomed home by my dog Dodger and I spent the night on the sofa talking of the phone with my friend Christina. I picked up a scented candle on my way home and that has been burning for sometime now. It smells awesome.

I took over 450 pictures today. They are currently uploading to my Flickr page. I had a great day and I am so glad I took most of it for me.

Happy 4 Year Anniversary Do Something Saturday

// February 8th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // beach, Cooking, friends, Homeless Outreach

Do Something Saturday & Old LA Zoo 021On February 3, 2011, the outreach that I created while I was homeless celebrated it’s 4th birthday. it was such a happy and proud time for me. Who would have ever thought that my attempt to reach out and help people who are homeless would grow to what it is today and be so embraced, loved and respected by so many?

Now I could have simply went out with some friends to celebrate this milestone, but instead I am taking the entire month to be of service to homeless people, low income families and people living with HIV or AIDS. This past weekend (Saturday, February 5th) the month long celebration kicked off in the area in which it was created with an outreach to homeless people in Santa Monica’s Chess Park.

I also had the cool opportunity of doing this outreach as with many of the outreaches with a good friend of mine. Together we spent the day with some pretty cool homeless people feeding them Jumbo Jacks, bottle water and passing out Do Something Kits. We hung for about an hour, laughing and talking, I also had the chance to speak with someone who is looking for housing and I am hoping with the connections I have I will be able to help him get started in the right direction toward ending his homelessness.

The cool thing was the fact that just two days before the outreach I received an email from someone who was so helpful to me whenDo Something Saturday & Old LA Zoo 007 I was homeless. To be honest if it wasn’t for him I would have been close to death on what was the coldest February on record, by showing me how to use newspaper to help keep me warm and how to dig a small trench to prevent the wind from blowing across my body while sleeping on the sand at the beach. It was so cool to see him. Later this week I will be picking up a cell phone and taking it to him so he is able to stay connected.

My evening was spent with my friends taking a cool, but very short tour of the old Los Angeles Zoo. I had no clue that there was a such thing, so I was happy that I was able to hang out with them to take some pretty cool pictures.

Do Something Saturday Outreaches 011Sunday I had someone stopping by to drop off donations for the Do Something Kits. This person watches my YOUTUBE channel and happened to see me on the bus coming home from work one day. I was on the phone, but we got off at the same stop and he tapped me on my shoulder to say hello. It was really cool to have met him and later it would mean donations for the Do Something Kits.

Do Something Saturday & Old LA Zoo 008He and I hung out and talked while I finished cooking “Sunday Dinner” for homeless people. This was an added outreach that I planned since I knew I would be home and had the money to purchase the food. After passing out 12 chicken dinners and 10 Do Something Kits, I had the cool opportunity of speaking with this awesome young man on camera.

I could not have asked for a better way to kick off the month long 4 year celebration of Do Something Saturday. I spent this very special time with my friends and then had the amazing honor and pleasure of meeting someone who watches my youtube channel and wanted to get involved.

Looking forward to sharing all the amazing stories from the outreaches as well as the photos all month long.

Three Day Weekend

// January 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Cooking, Me Time, photos, Pictures

Tuesday, Jamuary 11, 2011 016WOW, this was long overdue, it’s funny how I just came back from being off from work for a three week vacation and already I needed some time off to relax. As I have said before I love working for the organization, but the director makes working so much harder and stressful then it needs to be.  Plus last week there was simply so much more to do then any other normal week, but I got through it and I had a great restful weekend.

Saturday marked one full year that Dodger has been with me and since he was already 2 years old I used the the better part of the day to celebrate his 3 year birthday. We went out for a walks and he even got table food. He loves to eat table food, but never really gets it, so this was a real treat for him.

I can’t even begin to tell you just how much of a treat it has been to have this sweet little dog in my life. The love that he gives so freely is just so refreshing. it is so nice to come home to him jumping around and barking at me because I am back home. There aren’t many nights where he is not on the bed with me snoring and trying to pull the covers toward him so he can cover his head. Then there are those rare times when in the middle of the night he will lick my face and run toward the door. This is when I know he has to go very bad, so i try to get up and get on some clothes to rush him out.

Learning 004Dodger has this way of making me smile at him, even when he has knocked something over or has been in the bathroom trash to shred the paper or tear up the roll of toilet paper. The funny thing is that as soon as he knows I’ve seen what he has done, he runs to his cage and hides in the very back. Almost like he knows he is about to get a time out and places himself in one.

I also had plans to meet up with a friend to shoot the sunset at Santa Monica Beach and I am so glad I made the time to do this. It was so awesome to finally be able to take my new camera down to the beach for a sunset and get some pretty awesome shots. It was also very nice to do this with a friend I have not hung out with one on one in while.

All I can say about this new camera is “WOW” The pictures I am able to take are simply awesome and I am so happy I had this purchase. I’ve also been reading a book I received as a birthday gift that has lots of cool tips that I have been putting into action, which have really taken my pictures to a whole level.

I love Santa Monica. It is where I was born and raised and it is where I started my Do Something Saturday outreach. The beach has always been a place of peace for me. I use to go there a lot as a kid and just sit, as an adult I did the very same thing. While homeless the beach was still a place I went to for peace and to just try to put things into perspective. It was, on many nights a place for me to sleep. It’s funny how my life has allowed Santa Monica Beach to hold so many memories for me, so many awesome memories and even some bad ones, but in all Santa Monica and Santa Monica Beach will always hold a very special place in my heart. The cool thing is that I might be able to move back there some day soon. I am so looking forward to this.

After taking pictures and talking with my friend I walked her to her car and started to walk along the board walk towards theSunset @ Santa Monica Beach 076.CR2 pier. I stopped to get some quick pictures of the volleyball quarts along side the pier and after taking just a few shots I heard someone call my name. I turned around to see to two smiling faces of friends I met through my friends Krystal and Patrick.

We sat and talking and laughing for a while, before we had to head our separate ways, but as I walked toward the pier I thought to myself just how richly blessed I am to have the kinds of people in my life as friends. I was thinking this, because just a week before I had to make the choice to remove someone from my life, whom I truly loved and wanted to have in my life, but they were someone that would only cause me hurt, harm and pain, not to mention all the public embarrassment they had already caused me.

As I walked up the pier I thought of the types of people I want in my life, the kinds of people I want to call friends and the type of people who call me friend and again I began to smile because the people who are in my life are very solid people and I know they are truly my friends and the ones I needed to remove were not.

Sunset @ Santa Monica Beach 269Once I got on the bus I put on my NANO and the first song that played was called “Everything Changes” As I listened to the awesome voice delivering such powerful words I began to smile knowing that things in my life are right where they are supposed to be and the people in my life are in my life for the right reasons, not because I am some “project” to help them feel better about who they are.

Ma us to tell me that people in my life are like “seasons” they come and they go, but friends are like trees, they a rooted and with you for the long haul, through the thick and thin, ups and downs, good times and bad. “Find you some trees baby and then you will now what a real friend is.” I smiled again as I got off the bus to walk a block home because I know I have some amazing “trees” in my life.

I spent Sunday alone for the most part. I wanted to simply hang out with Dodger and do nothing. I ignored emails and texts for people at work….I do not get paid to work on the weekends. I went for a few walks with Dodger, talked on the phone with some friends and took it easy all day long. It felt great. I even got the chance to stay up late and watch my favorite show brothers and sisters on ABC.

I had Monday (today) off and again I was so looking forward to this day because it would mark the first time I have everchillin and cookin 020attended the “Kingdom Day Parade” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I will share this and the awesome pictures in another blog as well as on my Flickr page.

I hope you’ve had an awesome, peaceful and blessed weekend. OH YEAH, Sunday night ended with an awesome meal that I cooked for myself.

New Camera-Canon Rebel T2i

// January 15th, 2011 // No Comments » // beach, Canon, Me Time, photos, Pictures

Learning 002I’ve been wanting and needing a new camera for sometime now, but I have not been able to afford the to get one, but now that I have a job that pays well, I’ve been able to do things for myself that I have not been able to do for a long time. Getting a new camera for a birthday and Christmas present to myself is one of them.

I was shooting with a Canon Powershot and was very happy with the pictures the camera took. However I outgrew that camera very quickly and because of the amount of photos I was taking the retractable lens was starting to fail. I knew it was only a matter of time before I turned the camera on and the lens would simply not open.

Back in June of 2010 while hanging out with friends, I saw the new camera my friend Eric purchased and before even seeing the quality of photos it could produce I was “lusting” after that camera. I already knew I wanted to stick with Canon because they had been so good to me when I called for support with my powershot, plus I loved the quality of pictures I was taking. However after I saw the pictures Eric took, I knew this was the camera I want to purchase. He was shooting with a Canon Rebel T2i.

I was sick for most of my 3 week break, but got up to do an outreach for my birthday on the 19th of December and afterwardsLearning 003had dinner with my friends at ZENGO in Santa Monica. Eric and Willow gave me a sweet gift for my birthday. It was a book on Digital Photography. Once I opened the gift I knew I now needed to get my new camera, so on December 29th I made the trip to Sammy’s Camera and got my new baby.

I love this new camera and the quality of pictures I am taking is simply awesome. People have told me that the pictures “pop” and the detail is “great”, however I was still not getting the higher quality that I had hoped for. This is where my buddy Eric comes in handy. I can always text or call him with questions and he always supplies the answers I need. Moreover the book he gave me is simple and easy to understand, so while reading a few chapters today I put many of the suggestions to work.

Tonight I am going out to shoot my first sunset at the beach. I am so looking forward to putting into practice what I have learned from reading the book. The biggest change I will be making tonight is that I will be shooting my pictures using a tri-pod to get more crisp pictures. Like the book said this is a bit more work, but in the pictures I’ve seen already I am willing to put in the extra effort to get more “popping” photos.

Learning 004I will also be investing in a better, more quality tri-pod as well. The book suggest a few types and I have seen others use the suggested tri-pods, so after speaking with Eric I will make my choice. The biggest investment will be a new lens where I can shoot things from a distance. The lens I have is great, but for my community work I would like a lens that will deliver high quality photos that I can shoot from a distance so that I don’t disturb the situation I am shooting.

This new camera will also help me take my pictures to a whole level and has already started me to think about planning another photo exhibit like the one I did back in 2007 with a team of photographers and kids down in the Oakwood area of  Venice.

With all the stress of work, my new camera is going to provide me with some awesome picture safaris to help remove some of the stress and will also get me out of the house more to walk to find some awesome places to snap some really cool pictures. I can already tell that my adventures in photography have just begun.

Well it’s already 12:32pm and I need to get ready to head out to the beach. It will take two buses to get there, or maybe just one if I go on the Sunset bus which will take me down to Pacific Coast Highway. The only down side to that is the fact that there is a private beach and I would have to walk along the highway before I could cut back over to the beach. I don’t think I want to do that, but you never know.

I can’t wait to snap pictures of the Santa Monica Pier and of the sun as it deeps into the Pacific Ocean. Plus tomorrow my plan isLearning 006 to get up and head to the beach to get the sun rise at Venice Beach. Now that should be fun.

Hold on tight to a whole new “My Life Through My Lens” experience